In iPadOS 15, Apple left the new Safari tab bar design turned off by default, but it’s already installed when you upgrade to iPadOS 15 or later. If you’d like to experiment with the new “compact” tab bar design, it’s easy to enable in Settings. Here’s how.
First, open Settings by tapping the grey gear icon.
In Settings, tap “Safari” in the sidebar.
In Safari settings, navigate to the “Tabs” section, then select “Compact Tab Bar” until it has a check mark below it.
Next, launch Safari and open several websites at once. Previously, with “Separate Tab Bar” selected, you’d see a dedicated tab bar just below the address toolbar. Now, with “Compact Tab Bar” selected, the toolbar at the top of the screen takes up less space. That’s because the tab bar has merged into the address bar.
To see or edit the current URL address while in “Compact Tab Bar Mode,” tap the current tab button, and it will expand into an address bar. To open a new search box to type in a search term or a new web address, tap the plus (“+”) button in the right side of the tab bar.
If you change your mind and want to go back to the old tab bar style, just open Settings again and navigate to Safari, then select “Separate Tab Bar” in the Tabs section. You can make a similar change on the iPhone if you’re not happy with the new Safari design in iOS 15. Happy browsing!